Carlos Sainz Jr. heads in to his seventy-fifth race this weekend as the FIA Formula 1 World Championship heads east to Singapore for the annual night race after finishing in eighth place in Monza.
Last year the Spaniard just missed out on the a podium finish with Toro Rosso, marking his best finish in F1, a feat he will be hoping to emulate with the Renault Sport Formula One Team this year.
“It’s probably my best-ever race in my Formula 1 career.” he said, reflecting on 2017. “Everything clicked on the day and we ended up in fourth place.
“It was a very difficult race starting on the Intermediate tyre and then picking the right time to go onto the Supersofts, which took a bit of getting used to in the early running.
“But, it was an incredible day, an amazing race and one which I’ll never forget. That said, every time I’m in the car, I’m gunning to better it.”
While the race takes place at night, the heat and humidity is still very high, for example the temperature for the race last year started at 28c, despite the 8pm start.
“It gets so hot in the cockpit and we’re very busy with the frequent changes of direction and on-going gear shifts; all while making sure not to hit the barriers.
“It’s a really big challenge come race day. It’s a long lap in terms of time, and very tight and twisty. There aren’t many straights to have a rest like in Baku, for example, so that makes it even trickier from a physical perspective.”
Along with returning to the place he achieved his highest Formula 1 finish to date, Sainz will mark a milestone seventh-five races when he starts the Grand Prix on Sunday, which also marks team-mate Nico Hulkenburg‘s one hundred and fiftieth start.
“It’s a cool coincidence that both myself and Nico celebrate milestones on the same weekend.
“75 races sounds like a lot, especially since I’m still quite young. It would be extra special if we can celebrate it with a double-points finish or match or better my result from last year!”
Singapore is is eight hours ahead of GMT, the uniqueness of the race weekend means that the bulk of the weekend activity is carried out in line with Europe.
“It is a strange weekend in a way, as we remain on European time. Waking up at 2pm every day and leaving the track at 3am is strange, but that’s what makes it a unique Grand Prix. We don’t see too much daylight there and there’s little time to explore.”
Following on from his eighth place in Italy, Sainz is optimistic that the team can continue to move forward and close the gap to the top three teams. “We want to build on this now at a string of circuits which should suit our package well. I’m feeling positive and I want to convert that into a strong weekend in Singapore.”